* FTSEurofirst 300 down 1.2 pct at 1,160.93
* Index down 8 pct since mid-May on stimulus worries
* RBS leads banks down as CEO Hester quits
By David Brett
LONDON, June 13 European shares sold off again
on Thursday with banks and commodity stocks - two of the sectors
most exposed to broader economic fortunes - the top fallers on
concerns about stimulus unwinding and Greek political
By 0735 GMT, the FTSEurofirst 300 was down 13.86
points, or 1.2 percent at 1,160.93, testing key support levels
and led by miners down 1.4 percent and banks
down 1.6 percent.
UK-lender Royal Bank of Scotland fell 7.1 percent
after the bank surprised investors late on Wednesday by
announcing Chief Executive Stephen Hester was stepping down.
"This announcement increases the uncertainty around the
shares and potentially delays further any return of the bank to
private ownership," Gary Greenwood, analyst at Shore Capital,
says while cutting his rating on RBS to "sell" from "hold".
The broader index has fallen nearly 8 percent since mid-May
and was just 13 points off retracing the gains enjoyed since
mid-April, in a sign of how reliant and sensitive markets have
become to monetary policy.
Worries over political stability in Greece, as workers began
a nationwide strike in protest against the "sudden death" of
state broadcaster ERT, did little to settle investors nerves and
raised concerns over the outlook the euro zone.
Peel Hunt's equity strategist Ian Williams, however, said
the concerns over when stimulus withdrawal will occur in the
United States remained the key focus for investors.
"Low volumes and high volatility will remain the order of
the day at least until next week's FOMC (Federal Open Market
Committee) meeting, with technical considerations set to
dominate," he said.
The FTSEurofirst 300 has crashed through the 61.8 percent
Fibonacci retracement of the rally that began in mid-April and
topped out in mid-May, with the next level of support being the
200-day moving average around 1,155, which it bounced off of
early in the session.
Insurers suffered too, down 1.8 percent, with their
exposure to the rising bond yield which should occur when the
Fed does temper its asset purchasing scheme, hampering their
near-term outlook. Aberdeen Asset Management shed 4
With the index engulfed in a sea of red, defensive sectors,
those areas of the market which tend to perform better in
austere periods such as healthcare and food and beverage
, were the most notable outperformers, although still
down on the day.
(Editing by Chris Pizzey, London MPG Desk, +44 (0)207 542-4441)